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Duane L. Tarnacki



500 Woodward Ave
Suite 3500
Detroit, MI 48226
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Fax: +13133096864
J.D., cum laude, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1980
M.B.A., with Honors, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1980
B.A., with high distinction, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1976
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Duane L. Tarnacki


Duane L. Tarnacki’s practice includes representing and advising tax-exempt organizations such as private foundations, community foundations, professional and trade associations, community development organizations, colleges and secondary schools, human service agencies, community mental health authorities and providers, hospital conversion foundations, museums, arts and cultural institutions, public libraries, and social, civic and religious groups. This involves a full range of services, including incorporation and qualification of new nonprofit organizations, advice about regulation by the Internal Revenue Service and state authorities, representation relating to general corporate matters and tax issues, including unrelated business taxable income, the preparation and administration of retirement plans and welfare benefit plans, and all aspects of organization and operations. In his planned giving work, Duane serves as legal counsel to the development offices of a number of large charitable institutions.

Duane is listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in the practice areas of Corporate Law and Non-Profit/Charities Law for 2014. In 2012 and in 2017, Duane was named Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers® for Non-Profit/Charities Law in Detroit. He was named recipient of the Outstanding Nonprofit Attorney Award for 2003 by the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association. He is listed in Crain’s Detroit Business Top Attorneys in Michigan, DBusiness Top Lawyers, Michigan Super Lawyers, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in American Law.

Duane is the author of Establishing a Charitable Foundation in Michigan (Council of Michigan Foundations, 1987; 1989; 1999; 2004, 2016), Law and Responsibilities: A Primer for Trustees, Directors and Officers of Michigan Private Foundations (1996), The Responsibilities of Service: A Guide for Directors of Nonprofit Organizations in Michigan (2007), and has co-authored The Michigan Community Foundation Legal Reference (1991; 1996; 2000). He frequently lectures on subjects ranging from estate planning aspects of charitable giving to officer and director liability issues.

Duane has served as an officer and member of the governing board of the Detroit Historical Society, many nonprofit organizations including the Futures Foundation, a supporting organization to the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center for persons with disabilities, and the Detroit Athletic Club Foundation.

Duane is a founding director of the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society and served as a Director and the Secretary for nine years (1988-1996). He served on the Board of Trustees of the Thompson Foundation and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. He is a founding member and served on the Executive Committee of the Planned Giving Roundtable of Southeast Michigan. He served as an officer and Trustee of the College for Creative Studies, and on the Board of Directors of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Metropolitan Detroit Chapter and the Accounting Aid Society (1990-1996).

Duane is a member of the Internal Revenue Service’s Tax Exempt and Governmental Entities Council for the Great Lakes Area. He also serves on the Washington, D.C.- based Council on Foundations’ Legal Subcommittee of the Legal and Legislative Action Team. He serves as Secretary of the Michigan Manufacturers Association.

Duane is a member of the Business Contributions Council of The Council of Michigan Foundations. He is a fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation, and has served on its Legal Services Grants Committee. Duane served as chairman of the Michigan Cancer Foundation Planned Giving Advisory Council.

Best Lawyers in America (2019 and 2021 Editions) for Corporate Law; Nonprofit/Charities Law
Corporate Work Study Program - Detroit Cristo Rey High School, Board Member
Council on Foundations (Washington D.C.)
Council of Michigan Foundations, Business Contributions Council
Ethel and James Flinn Foundation, Trustee and Vice Chairman
Internal Revenue Service, Tax Exempt and Governmental Entities Council for the Great Lakes Area
Irma Giddey Charitable Fund, Trustee and President
Michigan State Bar Foundation, Fellow
Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society, Founding Director, Director and Secretary (1988-1996)
Michigan Manufacturers Association, Secretary
Planned Giving Roundtable of Southeast Michigan, founding member and former Executive Committee member
State Bar of Michigan
The Futures Foundation, Director and Vice Chair